When I was working near a college, I learned of an anthropology professor who was studying the life of cavemen. On his off time, he hunted Bigfoot in the forests of Washington State. Students claimed that part of his research was to spear live goats and cut them up with stone knives. Somehow, be believed that he was furthering the plight of civilized mankind. I am convinced that any animal research committee today would deny his research
In my senior year in college, I attended a class that introduced the students to real life experiences in our field of wildlife resources. I gave a talk on how wildlife managers should deal with animal rights activists; the talk would have earned me points with the activists. On one occasion, a researcher came in to talk to us about his research on Whitetail Deer populations. He was darting the animals from a helicopter. Since I had learned the use of chemical immobilization from the head of anesthesiology, I asked him what drug he was using. He said he was using succinylcholine chloride. Hearing that, I became very upset; this drug is not a tranquilizer but a paralyzing drug. It administers the worst kind of death when an animal is overdosed. I asked him what is death rate was and he claimed that half of the animals die from his research. I told them that if he was killing half of his test subjects he was engaged in bastard research. The rest of the class agreed with me.
The anthropologist and the wildlife researcher were so focused on the outcome of their research, that they overlooked the pain and suffering they caused in the performance of their research. This is why colleges should engage in constant monitoring to see that no animal is needless harmed in their care. The world is changing. In the old days, third and forth year veterinary students would perform three surgeries on an animal and following the third surgery the animal would be euthanized. Now, instead of euthanizing the animal, veterinary students are talking the animals home as pets.
There continues to be a lot of useless research being conducted and it is up to us to force researchers into being humane.
While working in Portland Oregon, we discovered the difficulty that our local veterinarians had with animal disposal. We decided to assist them with their need, in exchange for them helping us. We agreed to dispose of their dead animals, if we could bring injured animals in for treatment. The arrangement worked well, in that a veterinary hospital was always in the vicinity when animal control officers picked up injured animals. With only one exception, the program worked very well.
Animal control officers would report back to me that one veterinarian was never available to assist with injured animals. The solution was quite simple, I sent a letter advising the veterinarian that we were discontinuing pickup services at his clinic. Upon receipt of the letter, the veterinarian asked to meet.
In our meeting, he asked how he could make things right. He blamed his staff for rejecting the animals. It just happened that a couple of my officers were investigating an animal cruelty incident and I suggested that he go onsite with the officers to provide field examinations in preparation for court. His assistance would “buy” his way back into the program.
There are many ways that animal control can work together with their local veterinarians; you just need to attend their local meetings to talk things out. In many communities, veterinarians assist their community by having rabies clinics and selling pet licenses. It is surprising what you can do together.
One of the greatest examples of where we have been as to what we have become is the issue of service animals. As pioneers we crossed our great land in stage coaches holding our therapy chickens for the two week crossing. Today, we feel the need to hold a peacock for a two-hour airplane flight.
The Americans with Disability Act (ADA) created a mess when dealing with the issue of assistance animals. Since people were not required to prove that they were disabled and there were no programs for certifying assistance animals; people took advantage of the ACT to be able to keep their pets, when their landlord discovered that they were violating their lease agreement.
People pushed the issue for taking their pets on public transportation and now have reached the extreme by demanding that their pets be allowed on aircraft. There seems to be a contest as to who can go to the greatest extreme as to the size and type of animal that they choose as a therapy animal.